I'd like to think I'm in complete control of my life, but I'm wise enough to know that it would just be a fancy-pants illusion - a convenient myth to help me survive another night without screaming into my pillow in a major case of self-pity. I know I'm not in charge of my life. If those people are right, and it really "takes a village," then I'm just another hapless village idiot, relying on strangers and their beautiful gifts of kindness to help me through the day. In fact, I probably owe my life to a few strangers I've met in the village. Maybe you do too.
A stranger once stopped me as I was about to cross a London road just as one of those double decker buses was coming up from the right. Naturally, as a reformed Colonist, I was looking to the left. I'm sure I would have seen the bus "in time," but it seems a stranger was more interested in my safety than I was. And I have no idea who he is. How many other people have saved my life? Probably more than I'll ever know. Just a few weeks ago, a woman here in town - a complete stranger - saved me from total destruction.
I was in a drugstore and I thought, "Hey! I'll get my wife a surprise. But what? How about pantyhose? Yeah! She's always running out of those things! I'll surprise her with a few so she has some on hand!" Well, buying pantyhose is harder than it looks. You've got to know the proper size - A, B, Q, DD, and so on - and you have to know codewords like "sheer," "nude" and "industrial strength." I was clueless, so I stopped a lady who was shopping in the area and explained my situation. After she concluded that I wasn't totally insane, and after she saw me struggle with basic questions like "which color does your wife like?" she strongly recommended I buy her some hand lotion instead. See? Here's another stranger who saved my life. I wasn't about to be crushed by a double decker bus this time, but it was just as dangerous. If a man accidentally presents his lovely wife with pantyhose designed for "the Bulky Woman," I don't think anything can save him...not even if the entire village pitches in for the poor idiot.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org